Nearly New Sale Dilemma!

Picture of NCT Nearly New SaleI’m off to a NCT nearly new sale on Saturday with my sister to see if I can pick up some more baby items we need.

But my dilemma regarding our challenge is whether it is okay to buy second hand baby items that are not made in the UK?

So if I find a lovely baby outfit that was made in China is that okay to buy because I’m recycling and not increasing China’s imports to our country. However, I’m still not increasing UK manufacturing either!

So would my purchase be neutral? It would neither help UK or China’s manufacturing economy so actually I guess it is detrimental to the UK business economy.

I think I’ll go and try in the first instance to find baby items made in the UK, then Europe and then elsewhere in that order and see how I get on!


2 responses »

  1. Not sure if this is covered elsewhere in your blog, but I suppose you’re really aiming to purchase items where “some” value has been added by UK industry. So for example, buying a cotton garment manufactured in the UK involves the addition of value here to raw materials purchased elsewhere.

    So what counts as “adding value”? In the case of second-hand clothes, the recycling that puts them on the rack adds value (NCT make a profit, I suppose, and that profit is retained in the domestic economy), so that’s a positive over and above the neutral impact on domestic and foreign manufacturing.

    But it does raise an interesting question in principle: is the value added by the packaging, distribution and retailing in the UK of a foreign garment less “real” economically than packaging, distribution, retailing and stitching? How much value, and of what type, qualifies a garment to be an enhancement to UK rather than foreign industry?

    I’m sure you’ve got a good answer to this question, but I’m just thinking about it for the first time so please excuse me while I catch up!

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comments David! Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply!

    I’ve not covered the questions you have raised elsewhere in my blog, to some extent on purpose because I wanted to keep it light and accessible, but I do think they are important questions to think about.

    I agree that in the case of the NCT sale, my purchases retains the profit in the UK economy which is positive but it is limited to benefitting the “service” industry rather than manufacturing industry. My issue is with the fact that even though I’m not increasing non-UK imports, my spending on second hand items made abroad is still not proactively supporting a disappearing UK manufacturing industry.

    The service industry and in particular the financial sector has become a massive contributor to the UK economy which makes us very vulnerable to financial crises. If we can bring back a balance by supporting UK manufacturing then this will only make us stronger to cope with these global issues, as it has done for Germany.

    However, I also believe there is an enhanced value added, especially where employment is concerned, for any product manufactured in the UK, as well as it being packaged, distributed and sold online or in shops. Retail, especially online, does not require as many people to run as a manufacturing business does. So I would suggest that employment is increased by buying UK made products rather than just buying products that are packaged, distributed and retailed in the UK, but made elsewhere.

    It’s also about carbon-miles! An item from China has huge carbon impact whereas the cot bed mattress we bought is made from in Wales from Welsh lambswool and it only had to travel to Warwickshire!

    In addition, in China you will only find products for sale that are made in China. I understand that companies from other countries can get a special license to sell their products in China but they still have to be manufactured there and the process taught to the Chinese so they can in future produce the products themselves.

    I am not advocating that we become protectionists as this would hurt UK overseas contracts and the business the UK does with other countries but some shops here in the UK contain products that are all made in China and this cannot be a good thing long term for the UK.

    What do you think?



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